About Me

London, United Kingdom

Friday, April 29, 2011

The. Most. Amazing. Day. Ever!

When it was announced a couple of months ago that the Prince William and Kate were going to get married today, I really didn't think much about it, other than the fact that we were going to get an extra day off work. Over the last couple of weeks, I gave some thought to whether or not I would even go into Central London today at all. In general, the English really aren't as fascinated (or obsessed would probably be a better word) with it all like the American public seems to be. In the end, I decided that I would be doing a disservice to the US to not go since I am living here. I must say that the American in me won big time today. It was probably one of the most exciting and memorable days I can recall.

I woke up this morning around 6:00 (I was supposed to leave at 6:00, but whatever), got ready and headed into Central London. When I arrived on the tube at St. James' Park, I had never felt such energy and excitement. I was supposed to meet up with a couple of friends, (turns out there were nearly 2 million people down there and that didn't work out so well for us), and as I was approaching the gates of Buckingham Palace, I ran into one of my favorite weathermen (second only to Gary Lezak), Al Roker!

Evidently, he was in a bit of a hurry but we exchanged some pleasantries, I got some photos, and he was on his way to do something more important than talk to me. Anyway, I met a couple of guys from New York that were equally (or maybe not so equally) excited about our celebrity sighting. They assured me that the place where we were standing situated just next to the press tent was the best place to be. After seeing Al, I needed little convincing and spent the rest of the day with them. Great American's! (Sadly, I must admit there were some American's that were not so great down there and a little embarrassing...)

Anyway, I got there at around 8:00 and really nothing happened for a good two and half hours...except for also meeting Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, herself...Jane Seymour! She's very friendly and was equally as excited about taking pictures of all of us. We also saw lots of other British press and celebrities go in and out of the gates. I was standing on The Mall, a street which runs from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square. I was back away from the street but was able to see and get some photos (though not very good and don't do it all justice) of the other foreign royalty, the minor members of the British royalty, Prince Charles and Camilla, The Queen!, the bridesmaids, and finally Kate and her father as they drove to Westminster Abbey.

As I wasn't in an area with big screens airing the wedding, we were only able to listen to it through speakers that were set up all over Central London. It was quite surreal being so close to something like that. After the wedding, everyone (hundreds of thousands of people) sang "God Save the Queen," the British National Anthem (which I do not know). So amazing!

As we were waiting for the family to come back to Buckingham Palace, I officially went global! The International CNN anchor stood right next to me and my new, New Yorker friend as she was on air corresponding with Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan! When she told me that I was going to be on TV, she even encouraged me to quickly call my family to make sure they had the TV on CNN in the US. I haven't been able to find the coverage of it all on the website but if I do, I'll post it.

After my big debut, Kate and William made their own as a married couple and the Duke an Duchess of Cambridge. The parade began with them coming back down the mall in the open carriage, followed by their families, the wedding party, and The Queen again! (I think she is unbelievably cute!) All of this, paired with all of the pomp and circumstance, the horses, and the guards with fuzzy hats, I think it was the most excited I've ever been...which says a lot. Most of you probably know that I'm easily excited! :)

After everyone was back into Buckingham Palace, the police unleashed the public and we all made a mad dash to go all the way up toward the gates of the palace for the Royal family's appearance on the balcony. This rush turned into a bit of a mob. People were pushing and I was climbing fences and running to get as close as possible. It was chaos and I'm actually quite happy I'm alive tonight...but I got really really really close. I was able to get photos of the family, the infamous kiss, and the flyover (a gift to Prince William from The Queen).

After wandering around fighting crowds, police, and trash for a bit, I made my way back home. While it was such a good day, I met some really great people, and experienced all sorts of excitement, I'm exhausted! I can't imagine how they must be feeling.

Good night!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Bittersweet and Snowy London

I was in London for nearly eight months before taking my first big trip back to the US of A. I left Friday before last for ten days to spend the Thanksgiving week with my friends and family. While I was initially sad to be leaving my life in London, even for ten days, it was so good to be home. With that said, being home was a bit surreal and strange. It genuinely felt like I had never left. My friends and I picked up just where we left off, my sisters and I argued about the same things we always do (love you guys <3), Target is still an amazing store, and Mi Ranchito is as tasty as it ever. Throughout my time there, I would think about my life across the pond, and it didn't seem real. I'm feeling a little like i am living a double life. Needless to say, my days in London look a lot different than those did in Kansas City. I had (and like to think I continue to have) a whole network of people that I love and that love me. In London, I've met some amazing people as well. It's a strange strange feeling that my different lives don't really cross.

When I left for the US, friends in London asked if I thought I was going to have a difficult time coming back after spending time at home. I never dreamed that it would be so difficult, and that my sister would once again have to leave me in tears waiting in line at KCI Security. Now I know that I wasn't being very realistic about how things would be. Over the last couple of months, I have been having so much fun living an exciting life abroad, I think I lost some perspective about all that I left behind at home. The perspective came crashing down around me over the last 36 hours and it manifested itself in a whole lot of tears.

Two weeks ago if I would have been asked how long I planned to stay in England, I might have told you that I loved everything about being here and could see myself staying long term. Today, that thought really overwhelms me and gives me a serious knot in my stomach...and if I'm being honest, a couple of tears to fall. My contract with my employer is for two years, my visa is good for three. I want to start being thankful for the time I'm here, and stop trying to look so far ahead. My new goal while in the UK is to take things one day at a time.

Anyway, sorry that my first post in three months was a bit depressing. I'm hoping it makes me feel better! :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


Hi! I hope you are all doing well. Sorry I continue to be a little hit and miss on this blog thing. It seemed like it was going to be such a good idea and so easy in the beginning...some of you are demanding! :)

The last six weeks or so have been really good across the pond. The homesickness seems to have moved on...at least for now. We'll see what happens when it's dark for 16 hours everyday and it rains for five months straight. I am getting busier and busier, which is really good for me. I'm never home before 8:30 or so. I finally found a place to swim laps that I'm happy with. It's so close to my work and is outside. It's 50m, heated, and they say that people swim through the winter. I'll be very curious to see if I'm able to do this without freezing my knickers off. It may bring back some repressed traumatic memories of my mom throwing me into The Big Pool in subzero temperatures back in my GC Seahawk days....

Last weekend, I made a quick trip to Germany to spend the weekend with Katrin's (my sis in law) family. It was really good to see some familiar faces and drink some German beer...and to be on the right side of the road again. I wish Scott and Katrin (and particularly Hannah, sorry guys) would have been there though. I look forward to going back for Christmas this year for some good German Christmas fun.

On Tuesday evening, I went with a fellow Kansas Citian that I work with to see Sister Act at The West End. Whoopi Goldberg has been here through much of August "back in the habit." I was a little disappointed that she didn't play her original role of Deloris Van Cartier but was Mother Superior instead. Sister Act was one of my favorite movies growing up. It was pretty surreal to be that close to one of my favorite celebs. (It should be noted that I was on a bit of an employment hiatus before my move over here and I got somewhat addicted to The View.) I tried to take a picture but was attacked by a theatre attendant after merely taking my camera out of my bag.

This weekend I'm looking to Notting Hill Carnival. I don't really know what it is but I have been assured I will find good food and good drinks (along with possible gang violence, but whatever). I'm set!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summertime in London!!!

I can't believe I've been here for three and a half months...part of me feels like it's gone fast, while another part of me feels like I've been here for fifteen years. It has been pretty overwhelming, exhausting, and an undoubtable emotional roller coaster; but I love this city and am looking forward to all that lies ahead. I do feel like I'm settling in somewhat though. I find that I am in a routine here, which is bittersweet. When I first arrived, I never got home before 10:00 because I was always out exploring. Now, once I'm done working, I come home and do what I do best...watch TV and play on Facebook! Sad, really.

I am super excited to have my first guests headed over this fall. The Siders' are coming over in September and then my mom will be here for almost three weeks in October. I'm working on booking some travel in the next couple of months and while my mom is here. It's one of the main reasons I came over here and so far, I am not taking advantage of it. I love London, but I also love getting out of London. Who knows where I'll end up...

I am thankful that I came at this time of year. Summers in the US are on a whole new level than those in the UK. This summer, we've had some blistering hot days, it's gotten up to 85 degrees!! Because there is no air conditioning in homes or on public transport, it feels really hot at times...and the body odor on the tube proves it! I definitely can't complain about the mild weather. It doesn't get super hot in the summer or super cold in the winter (so I'm told). I have been warned about the winters here though. The English LOVE! to talk about the weather. It's really funny, actually. At any given time, I think that if you just listened to the people around you, someone would be saying something about it. To be fair, it probably will be a bit of an adjustment when it rains for seven months straight and it doesn't get light until 9:00 in the morning and it's dark again by 4:00 in the afternoon. Bring it on!

Work is going well. It's certainly been difficult at times, but I really like the children and families I work with...and my coworkers too!

I've been watching flights for my first trip home for Thanksgiving. I'm planning to be there around November 19-29. QT and Mi Ranchito is just four months away for me!!! :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

So sorry about my slacking!

I just realized that it's been over a month since I gave an update on my life over here. I think that's because life has caught up with me. It turns out, this isn't just one big vacation, I actually have to go to work! I think I neglected this thought some when deciding to make my move over here. I get almost six weeks of vacation time and I've already decided that it isn't enough. I'm clearly going to have to get better at weekend travel.

Another piece of reality that has struck me over the course of the last 2-3 weeks is the fact that I am a good 4500 miles away from home. That's right, homesickness has settled in. I really appreciate the supportive comments from everyone over the course of the last couple of weeks. Things will get better. I love this city! I just need to figure out how to get Irv out of Iowa in order to get my whole family over here. I do not anticipate success in this endeavor though.

Work continues to go very well. While I was working toward the same goals in the US, policies and procedures are quite a bit different. My general state of confusion is sometimes frustrating, but the work is fascinating and I feel like I have been quite lucky by working with some very supportive social workers.

On another note, I anticipate a fun and exciting weekend in England. For those that don't follow soccer (I admit that I know nothing about it), the US plays England tomorrow afternoon in the World Cup. People are super excited about soccer (or football if I'm calling things the right way over here). You really can't escape it, nor would you want to. I'm just glad I have sports to focus on over here as I understand everything that I love about sports in the US is crumbling down around my beloved Manhattan, Kansas. I can't believe that I leave the country for two months and the Big XII falls apart. So depressing!

I promise to do better about blog posts in the coming weeks. I look forward to doing some jet setting very soon!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Moving on up to the east side!

Well, crap. I lost my iPhone at Ikea yesterday. Things were really looking up with the use of that thing too. I lost it somewhere between kitchens and storage. I've retraced my steps about 15 times since then. I am so sick of that place. Unfortunately, I think I am going to have to go back there pretty much everyday this week because I'm too cheap to get a taxi so that I can get everything all at once. Besides, buying furniture for an entire flat at once is quite overwhelming. Hence the lost iPhone. Anyway, I'm so glad that the guy talked me into getting insurance when I got the phone (three weeks ago, sigh). In order to make an insurance claim, I had to make a police report. Therefore, I have had my first encounter with The Met! The Met is the police department in London. They walk around with those funny hats. I was disappointed to find out the lady taking my report wasn't going to put her funny hat on in order to help me, but I didn't feel like it was my place to ask her to. I'm sure that they don't really enjoy making reports on people that have lost their phones at Ikea.

On my way home from the police station, my bus got into an accident...which was very exciting! I was just happy not to have been behind the wheel in this one. The bus driver slammed into the car in the next lane. It was very obvious that she had done it, but she just kept driving! Eventually the crazy guy we hit (he had what could only be the English version of the mullet) caught up to us and blocked the road so she couldn't go any further. There was then lots of commotion...yelling, horns, etc. All in all, after surveying the damage, I would say the guy made out pretty well. After all, a double decker, bright red bus had slammed into the side of his car. Really the extent of the damage was a broken side mirror. It sounded so much louder than that.

I have spent the majority of the weekend moving into my flat. I'm very excited about it. (I'm not excited about how much time and money I've spent at Ikea, but I'll stop dwelling on that.) My suitcases are very excited to be unpacked and in my closet. On Friday, I had a sofa bed, my bed, and a bookshelf delivered. I assumed the sofa bed would be put together. I assumed wrong. I didn't know that a sofa bed could come in 4000 pieces, in 2000 boxes. I can't believe I put it together by myself. I did have some extra screws at the end. I'm not sure what that's about. Oh well, that's not my problem. I don't plan on ever sleeping there. (Sorry guests!) I also successfully put together my bed. Putting together all the furniture has taken a toll on my back. I feel like I'm about 80 years old. Getting out of bed the last two days has been very rough. I'm so stiff! I also think that I'm allergic to all the fake wood that I now have in here. I can't stop sneezing.

I'm living in South Woodford, which is a little community in Eastern London. It's a nice, quiet little area...with lots of cute old people. I can't get enough of the old Enlgish men with their houndstooth hats. I talk to them all frequently at bus stops. My hope is that after 80 years, they have figured out London and they can give me some insight. This place is a little difficult to wrap your head around at times. It's so huge...with so much to do and see. Now that I'm almost settled, I really plan to make the most of it.

I'll post pictures of my flat when it's a little more put together. It's condition is a little embarrassing right now.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

I would imagine that they drive on the left side of the road in hell...

Well, I am just coming off of my first holiday weekend in England. Today (May 3) was the early May bank holiday. I'm not sure what we were supposed to be celebrating, but I did nonetheless. On Saturday, I got the haircut an color of a lifetime. I will never (ever) disclose how much I accidently spent there, but it was the most relaxing three hours I have had in a long time...and for those of you that know about my life prior to moving over here, my life has been pretty relaxing as of late. I guess I know that from now on, you should ask how much services are going to cost prior to booking them. Oh well...I did get my first paycheck in over five months this week.

Early yesterday morning, two girls and I headed up north to York, England for the weekend. We didn't decide to go until late Friday afternoon, so train tickets were pretty expensive by then and we decided to rent a car. The other two girls said that they didn't know how to drive a manual transmission and I was in no condition to chip in for the upgrade to an automatic after my hair extravaganza the day prior. I decided that I would be the driver for the weekend. How hard can it be, right? Turns out...it's really hard. The steering wheel is on the right side of the car, so you have to shift with your left hand. Instead of reverse being on to the right of fifth it's all the way to the left before first. (I hope that makes sense.) It has been the most disorienting 36 hours of my life. There is so much that goes into driving on the left side of the road. You take wide right had turns, and small left hand turns. The British also evidently love the use of roundabouts and instead of going to the right in them, you are very much supposed to go to the left.

After we made it up to York, I was feeling a bit more comfortable and confident in my driving in the UK. I had made it almost three hours without doing any major damage to this country! Then I accidently hit a cyclist. This obviously squelched my confidence. I'm not exactly how it happened. Whether or not I had my blinker on is up for debate, but he made it pretty clear to me that I hadn't. Needless to say, he wasn't a very happy Englishman at that point. He appeared to be okay though. After all, he did have enough strength to yell at me. It was quite traumatic.

The three of us wandered around York yesterday afternoon and into the evening. It's a very quaint little English town. It was pretty cold here this weekend though, so it was hard to see the sights for long. We got up this morning and left York, hoping to drive through the English countryside before coming back to London. We drove through the Peak District in The Midlands. The little villages of cottages and pubs on the hillsides here are so fun. I definitely want to spend some more time out there very soon. I really, really liked all of the sheep too!

All in all, it was a successful holiday weekend. Now, on to work for the week. Luckily, I only have to work 2 1/2 days this week because it is moving week for me! I'm so excited to be able to finally unpack after six months of living in limbo. I can't wait to be able to finally get into a routine. My flat isn't furnished so I will be making the trip of a lifetime to Ikea to furnish the place, but I have already bought a sofa bed. My plan was to figure out an alternative to giving up my bed all the time to my guests! :) You can all start booking tickets now!